World Masterpieces 1
11 Feb 2013
The Change of Gilgamesh
In The Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh is called the “shepherd of his people” even though the narrator also gives examples of his harshness and injustice towards them. At the beginning of the story Gilgamesh is restless, feeling that he was meant for greater things. During his journey Gilgamesh meets Enkidu who changes the way that he thinks and behaves. When Enkidu passes away Gilgamesh changes the way he acts completely. The Gilgamesh at the end of the story acts like a completely different person than the one at the beginning of the story. Before Gilgamesh meets Enkidu, he acts like he is meant for greater things than ruling over one little city. He is physically beautiful, immensely strong, and very wise. He is also godlike in body and mind. He lorded over his people constantly fighting with the warriors whenever he feels like it. He also rapes any women that he desires and even has his way with wives on their wedding night before even the husband. He even takes whatever he wishes from his people, and tramples anyone that gets in his way. The women of Uruk complain to the gods telling them that he is mistreating the men and women of the city. They say that a king is supposed to protect his subjects like a shepherd, not harass them like a wild ox. When the gods hear this they tell Aruru, the goddess of creation, that since she made Gilgamesh, she must now make someone strong enough to stand up for him. Now that he has found someone with comparable bravery and strength, Gilgamesh is no longer bored and therefore he no longer mistreats his subjects. When Gilgamesh meets Enkidu, who was created to be his match, he completely changes the way that he acts. When the two meet they immediately fight each other and when Gilgamesh wins they gain a great deal of respect for one another. They become fast friends and begin to go on quests together. During their quests they perfectly...
Cited: Gilgamesh. Trans. Benjamin Foster. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2001. Print.
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